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Truth is Creepier than Fantasy
March 5, 2007 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Lancelot the Living Unicorn (actually a white angora goat whose horn buds were grafted onto the center of its skull by mystic Oberon Zell-Ravenheart), a popular attraction of the Marin County Renaissance Faire, Marine World Africa USA and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, continues to elicit fond memories in spite of being exhibited by a horrific murderer.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (28 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw Lancelot, or something very similar at a Ringling Bros show in the early-mid 80s. I can recall what a let-down it was even as a four year old. It's just a goat with a horn in the middle!
posted by thecjm at 1:23 PM on March 5, 2007


That last link is quite a mindfuck.
posted by OmieWise at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2007


Merzbow and Consumer Electronics teamed up about twenty years ago to put out a really great noise album called "Horn Of The Goat". The cover has the very striking image of Leonard Lake smiling, holding Lancelot the Living Unicorn while a woman appears to be giving Lancelot a rather friendly kiss.

Very, very creepy.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:43 PM on March 5, 2007


I don't know, I mean I kind of like rainbows better.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:55 PM on March 5, 2007


That Archer link (first one) is hilarious. He's such a stoner hippie-cynic! I had an Archer over my bed in high school and it's nice to know we're on the same page on that.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:00 PM on March 5, 2007


Here's a little larger version of the Leonard Lake pic.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:03 PM on March 5, 2007


Indeed OmieWise, that last link is a truly great read.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:10 PM on March 5, 2007


Funny this was posted today- I saw the unicorn on Saturday night. It's stuffed and on display at the Palace of Wonders on H street in DC (free admission!) along with some gruesome pics of how the horn was "made". They apparantly got it from Baltimore's now defunct Dime Museum. The owner of the Dime struck a deal with the PoW owner and has a lot of similar curiousities on display in the bar- a stuffed five legged dog, "alien skulls", a cloak of inivisibility, etc... Much better than the stuff on the walls at TGIFriday.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:18 PM on March 5, 2007


I saw both the actual living unicorn at the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in Charlotte, NC (on a high-school date), AND the stuffed version at the Palace of Wonders, thus bringing my life full circle. Or something.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:31 PM on March 5, 2007


Dude, spend a couple of hours reading up on serial killers at Crimelibrary.net and you'll never look at your quiet, unassuming neighbor the same way again.
posted by mckenney at 2:35 PM on March 5, 2007


.com, I mean.
posted by mckenney at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2007


I knew about Lake, I think they've had shows about him on courttv. Never knew about that goat though.
posted by puke & cry at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Eeeyargh.... that last link is completely horrifying...
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:01 PM on March 5, 2007


Also this post is completely fantastic and deserves some sort of award.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:01 PM on March 5, 2007


Funny this was posted today- I saw the unicorn on Saturday night. It's stuffed and on display at the Palace of Wonders on H street in DC
Jeebus, I knew that goat looked familiar somehow. And this has got to be the most creepy post ever.
posted by exogenous at 3:14 PM on March 5, 2007


You know, I can't walk into the Palace of Wonders without some unbelievably weird coincidence occurring (former coworkers, ex lovers, etc.) I'm glad to know that the stuffed goat is there, because I clearly remember being given lots cards and magazines featuring him as a child, and I think if I'd walked in there and seen that goat without being forewarned, I'd have freaked.
posted by Fenriss at 3:25 PM on March 5, 2007


I read about Otter and Morning Glory Zell's 'unicorns,' back in the day, in Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler.
posted by taosbat at 3:51 PM on March 5, 2007


Same here, taosbat. Was one of the final nails in the coffin of my brief flirtation with 'organized' neo-Paganism.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:16 PM on March 5, 2007


I really enjoyed Margot Adler's public radio articles, dirtynumbangelboy; so, I was eager to read the book when it came out. I thought it was very interesting.

I have friends who moved to California and have visited some of the temples and festivals she wrote about more recently, like the Egyptian temple...they said it was thriving.
posted by taosbat at 4:39 PM on March 5, 2007


It has taken several hours, but I am pleased to find that I can now recall the words "Master Kumara does not barf," without spitting my drink all over my keyboard.

This is a brillaint post, Chinese Jet Pilot.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:45 PM on March 5, 2007


Oh, oops, I should have been more clear.

Adler's book is extremely good.

The Zells, and their bizarre unicorn thing (amongst other weirdness)... I have no words. They were some of the final nails.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:52 PM on March 5, 2007


Yeah, well, I heard that.

Thanks to Chinese Jet Pilot for an oddly, terribly, interesting post.
posted by taosbat at 6:33 PM on March 5, 2007


Funny, Adler's book was also what made me decide that paganism wasn't for me though I thought the book itself was great and still have a moldy copy. Poor goat.
posted by yodelingisfun at 6:51 PM on March 5, 2007


Am I the only one who is completely dumbfounded by the sheer batshitinsanity of grafting a horn onto an animal?
posted by spiderskull at 6:58 PM on March 5, 2007


I was already familiar with Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, whose crimes rank among the most bone-chilling and bizarre out there, but I had no idea they had a connection to wizards and unicorns. I think my head is going to implode from sheer awesome, and I thank you.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:01 PM on March 5, 2007


Is this the "I saw it at Barnum et al's Circus in the 80's" and "[I saw it at] Palace of Wonders [is awesome]" meetup?

Count me in for two.
posted by abulafa at 8:53 PM on March 5, 2007


That crimelibrary link, while interesting, is very odd. No dates, for example - you have no idea when the story is taking place. Also the weird way the chronology is done. And then the writer suddenly gets indignant about Canada not handing people over to a country that has the death penalty, as if Canada is the strange place in this scenario.

Better written serial killer voyeurism, please.
posted by Mocata at 3:48 AM on March 6, 2007


This was definitely one of my favorite scenes from Borat.
posted by dgaicun at 12:55 PM on March 6, 2007


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